Saturday, February 20, 2010

Maryland aims for 100,000 solar rooftops in 10 years


Today, a bunch of legislators and business people plan to show their support for three solar related bills being considered by the General Assembly by gathering in a state office building and explaining how they will make it easier to use solar power, how they will create jobs and how they will lessen dependence on fossil fuels, according to Environment Maryland and the Maryland Energy Administration.
Environment Maryland says a quarter of Maryland homes are ready for solar panels that could capture energy that is now going unused. The group cites information from the International Center for Sustainable Development that shows the state gets about 196,000 gigawatt-hours of solar energy on a sunny summer day. That's more than what's produced at the state's mostly coal-fired power plants here in a year.
The move could reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution, as well as make energy distribution more efficient by creating it locally. It could also save consumers money and create local jobs, the group said.
Environment Maryland describes the three bills this way:
First, Gov. O’Malley has introduced legislation that would require a quicker ramp-up of the solar portion of the state’s renewable portfolio standard. This would mean that utilities would have to get a greater percentage of their energy portfolio from solar power sooner, which would jumpstart job creation and cut down on our emission of greenhouse gases.
Second, Del. Hecht and Sen. Middleton are leading an effort to introduce legislation that would give municipalities the means by which to loan people money for solar and other clean energy projects at very low interest rates, resulting in more homeowners taking advantage of the clean, reliable electricity that solar energy generation provides.
Finally, Dels. Pinsky and Hecht are working on "net-metering" legislation, which would require utilities to pay customers back for surplus energy they create with the solar panels on their roofs.
The state and federal government already do offer incentives for people to get panels as well as make other energy saving upgrades. Anyone of you have panels now? Anyone think they'll get them? Will these bills help?

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